Heritage Day celebrated in Maryhill

Aurele & Dolly Provost (60th Wedding Anniversary – Aurele was not able to attend), Sheila & Ken Kurtz (50th Anniversary), Joanne & Simon Nederend (60th Wedding Anniversary)

Sunday, September 25th was the 39th anniversary of the celebration of Heritage Day.  St. Boniface church was full as families from near and far came to celebrate this special occasion, some even as far as Kelowna, B.C.

The song “the Cross on the Hill” which was composed by a former member Helen Moyer was sung at the beginning of Mass.  Gift bearers were Joanne & Simon Nederend who were one of the couples celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.  Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors and Readers were all members of the society.

Following Mass  20 cars formed a cavalcade to visit where the first Mass was said.  In the early days of New Germany, Mass was celebrated in the settlers homes.  The first Mass was said at the home of Christian & Barbara (Allgeier) Rich in 1832.  In 1997 a special stone was erected at the end of the lane which is the home now of Fred Drexler.  Fred’s sister’s Fran Vegh and Theresa Hodgkinson gave the history of this site.

Next stop was the Klein cross just outside of Maryhill which was erected in 1846 by Andrew Klein and his brothers.  Ken & Ron Kurtz direct descendants gave a brief history of this cross.  Legend is that during the rough Atlantic crossing which took 6 weeks, Andrew Klein vowed that if the family arrived safely he would erect a shrine to the glory of God.  This original cross made of peeled cedar and was about 14 feet high.  The Historical Society is in the process of replacing this cross and the corpus.

The second cross was Robert McNanny and his brothers of Irish descent who lived on this farm until 1860 and it is thought they may have erected the cross in about 1832 again in gratitude for a safe arrival after a stormy Atlantic crossing.  This original cross was also made of cedar and was about 15 feet high.  The original cross was donated to Doon Heritage Village in Kitchener.  The Sebastian Drexler family purchased the farm in 1876 and took the responsibility for the care and maintenance of this cross for several generations.  Brian and brother Ron Lorentz, direct descendants of the Sebastian Drexler family gave the history of the Drexler-McNanny cross.  This new cross has been constructed as closely as possible to the original.  In 2010 the cross was reconstructed and replaced with the wood from a hydro pole.

Mary Ann Stroh spoke on the third cross which was erected by James Keleher in 1908 as a memorial to his pioneering parents who purchased the farm in 1869.  This cross was erected as a memorial to his pioneering parent who purchased the farm in thanksgiving for the prosperity the family enjoyed in the new land.

All the plots of land that the crosses are located on are owned and cared for by the Maryhill Historical Society.

Thank you to Doug Keller who had done grass cutting, trimming, and maintenance and decorated the areas around the crosses as a reminder of our early pioneers.

Heritage day celebration at the Maryhill Heritage Park Community Centre
Heritage day celebration at the Maryhill Heritage Park Community Centre

There were 105 people in attendance who enjoyed the lunch which consisted of ham, scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables and all the fixing along with chocolate & vanilla cake and coffee, tea, punch and water.

Honoured this year were Ken & Sheila Kurtz who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, Simon & Joanne Nederend and also Aurele & Dorothy Provost on their 60th wedding anniversary.


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